A flood of water you won't bring, but a flood of fire you will - Bereshit Rabbah
Noah's flood came to the world because it was "full of hamas
." The word has been translated as corruption, violence, lawlessness and words of that ilk. Rashi calls it gezel
- robbery. The current regime in Gaza certainly fills the bill. Their government, if you can call it that, has been utterly corrupt, violent and lawless. Hamas exists for one reason only - not to make life better for the people of Gaza but to destroy Israel. It makes no secret of its raison d'etre
. Three years ago Israel handed Gaza to Hamas on a silver platter and what did it get in return? Daily rocket attacks on Sderot, and now as deep as Beersheva. Hamas is, as New York City's Mayor Mike Bloomberg put it, a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran. Iran is supplying Hamas with longer range missiles, smuggled in through tunnels from Egyptian Sinai, and is training Hamas operatives in their use. The only thing surprising about this is that anybody is surprised. Should Hamas suddenly get the warm and fuzzies for Israel now that they have a territory to govern? Of course not. When you show evil men that evil pays off, they intensify their evil. Finally, Israel decided that enough was enough, and set out to put an end to Hamas' attacks. Predictably, the world is outraged - not at Hamas but at Israel. Disproportionate! Civilian casualties! Suffering Palestinians! Not a word about Israeli civilians deliberately targeted
by the beasts from Gaza. As usual, the world is cool with suffering weak Jews, but when we are strong and use force to defend ourselves, oy vey
. And what would the United States, France, Russia or any nation on earth do if its population was subjected to daily lethal fire from across a hostile border?
What you won't find on the front page of the New York Times
or in pronouncements emanating from the United Nations or the "Quartet" is that Israel, true to form, goes far out of its way to avoid civilian casualties and to alleviate the suffering of Arabs in Gaza. I never cease to be amazed at how Israel is willing to sacrifice its own soldiers and civilians to spare those of the enemy. Before bombing an area, they warn residents to leave. Of course, that tells Hamas to move their rocket launchers elsewhere, so that attacks on Israel's population centers actually increase. The folly of Lebanon 2006 is repeated. Humanitarian aid - food, medicine and such - is shipped by Israel into Gaza - all while a war is going on! Never mind that most of it will doubtless find its way to Hamas' "fighters," and not to the poor suffering Gazans that Hamas uses as human shields. Can you imagine the United States sending food and medicine into Tokyo or Berlin during World War II? The Israelis have gone mad! They say that Arabs in Gaza are not the enemy, that in fact they are victims of Hamas as much as the citizens of Sderot, and now Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beersheva. Nonsense! Who put Hamas in power by as democratic an election as there could be in any Arab country? Who allows Hamas to put rockets and other military assets in schools and private homes, so that when Israel attacks civilian casualties are unavoidable? The entire population of Gaza is Amalek. All are culpable, just as the entire German population aided and abetted Hitler and deserved whatever befell them and then some.
Instead of doing everything in its power to minimize the population's suffering, Israel should put the fear of God in the Arabs of Gaza, impressing on them in the only language they understand that cooperating with Hamas is bad for their health. It should be making life for Arabs in Gaza so miserable that many will be motivated to leave the country.
Israel does seem to have learned a lesson from the debacle in Lebanon and from America's experience in Iraq: Air power prepares the battlefield but only boots on the ground and plenty of them can secure it. Ground troops are entering the vipers' nest that is Gaza City and the surrounding refugee (for 60 years!) camps. Ferreting out Hamas' men, rockets, launchers (very small and portable) and other equipment by going house-to-house will no doubt be costly in Israeli lives. The alternative is a public relations nightmare, but one I would prefer to a slow slog through unfamiliar and hostile back alleys. War is not an exercise in public relations, and is to be resorted to only when all other alternatives (short of national suicide!) are exhausted, as they are here. When war is necessary, you have to go whole hog. If any house, school or hospital in Gaza City can contain weapons aimed at Israel, then Israel may, and perhaps must, do a Dresden
on Gaza City. Flatten the place. Burn it to the ground. Leave not one stone on top of another. Bake Hamas' men in the smouldering ruins of their city. Then send in the troops to mop up, dispose of the corpses and clear the remaining weapons. To paraphrase British Air Marshall Arthur Harris
, all of Arab Gaza is not worth the life of one Israeli soldier. Hamas will have brought on itself a richly deserved "flood of fire."
And then what? When Gaza was liberated in 1967, Prime Minister Golda Meir announced that Gaza was a dagger pointed at Israel's heart and could never be given away. She was not known as "the only man in the cabinet" for nothing. Foolishly, Israel did give it away - and look what it got in return. Now Israel protests that it does not want to return to Gaza, only to destroy Hamas' operational capability. But what do they think will happen as soon as they leave? Hamas will rebuild, with the help of its sugar daddy Iran. Just like Hezbollah did in Lebanon. What would Germany and Japan have done if the victorious Allies had left them to their own devices? Return permanently is just what Israel has to do, and the displaced Jews of Gush Katif will be only too willing to go back and make the place bloom like they did before 2005.
And we? As happens whenever Israel goes to war, we are feeling frustrated. We want to help, but don't know how. Some suggestions:
1. With God's help, nothing is impossible. Say extra Tehilim (e.g. 20, 27, 83, 121, 130).
2. If you have a child studying or volunteering in Israel, do not
beg him to come back. His/her place is there.
3. If you were planning a visit, go through with it. No one can guarantee that you will not come to harm, but no one can guarantee that in Brooklyn either. I traveled all over Jerusalem without incident but got mugged on my own block. If a place is particularly dangerous, the Israeli police and military will seal it off, so you might not be able to ride to Kever Rahel
in that armored bus.
4. Any number of charities funnel our tax deductible dollars to where they are needed most. Among them are:Magen David AdomFriends of Israel Defense ForcesA Package From HomePizza IDF
(honest, they deliver pizza to isolated army units)
5. With Israel's resources stretched to the limit, hasbara
has to take a back seat. Articulate, educated Jews like us can take up the slack. Attend demonstrations, write letters to the media, and when the casualty figures and ugly scenes appear on the television news, remind the squeamish of the casualty figures of World War II and the tactics used, and of what the world would be like if God forbid the other side (sitra ahara
) had won.
May this be the last of Israel's wars and may next year see us celebrating with Mashiach in the rebuilt Beit Hamikdash
Labels: Israel, Jerusalem, Sderot, strength, Tanakh, terrorism, violence, Zionism